How long have you been at Assetz and how did you get into business lending?
I joined in November 2020 and was just getting my feet under the desk when COVID hit. I started my Corporate Baking career in 1990 based in NatWest Bridgend with an emphasis on farming (I worked on a 100 strong dairy herd milk farm in my teens), prior to joining the dedicated Cardiff Corporate Banking Centre in 1992. (Turnover >£1m). My first Managerial role was leading the Cold Calling team to generate new business leads.
What does a normal day look like in your role?
Normal? Every day is very different! You never quite know what is in store. It is a mix of assessing new leads, pressing home completions and often answering numerous queries. Liaising with solicitors and our Assetz Credit Team as well as keeping up to date with site visits building the client relationship to ensure I’m first port for call for their next development.
Now that we are exiting the pandemic, were there any particular challenges you faced whilst it was ongoing?
The hardest part was telling clients their loan application was paused in March 2020 but the satisfaction was being able to conclude many of those same deals via the CBILS scheme. Returning after 5 months of furlough was undoubtedly tough – there was no “bedding back in”. It was 100 mph from day one as we all frantically were assessing the enormous amounts of leads we received and taking forward administrative protocols that were evolving on the back of our new funder Aros Kapital. And don’t mention my internet issues. (Thank you Elon Musk and Starlink for finally ending my continued Teams nightmare!)
Have you seen a difference in the way you work with brokers and borrowers since?
My aim has been to build a “go to“ relationship with a limited number of key brokers during this COVID era who have delivered high quality leads and strong supporting paperwork and equally I have pushed myself to quickly turn aside “kite flying leads” that bog us down.
We have seen an increase in self-funded builders and people taking on renovation projects, what do you expect to see the most demand for in the lending world moving forward?
I think it depends where in the UK and what sector. I’m seeing more opportunities for high spec bungalows in Wales for downsizers and I have no doubt that the care sector will be an enormous opportunity with the new funding package proposed around the corner.
What are you currently seeing in the lending market, and what do you predict for business growth prospects in the future – both for Assetz and your clients?
Assetz has a reputation of looking at deals that are often not straight forward and have wrinkles but the experience of the Relationship Directors and Credit are shaping these opportunities. With the ability to look at £5m+ now, larger opportunities are landing in our inbox. If we can land more and more of these, backed by more simplified drawdown paperwork etc via the Change Team, then Assetz’s goal of £1Bn of lending per annum will be a lot easier than it sounds.
What keeps you focused and motivated?
Pride, passion and personal ownership at what I do. Seeing a deal from email to sale is why I left day to day corporate banking. I love watching skilled trades working so I’m sure I must have been a brickie or carpenter or plasterer in a previous life!
What’s the best thing about working at Assetz Capital and working in lending?
For me, after 18 years of daily commuting to Cheltenham and Bristol, having the opportunity to work back “home” in Wales and champion Assetz Capital’s desire to support via our lending offering to the smaller house builder ignored by the High Street Banks has been my driving force.
What’s your favourite activity outside of work?
I’ve become a massive garden enthusiast having led my hometown of Usk to become World Champions in our class of the World in Bloom competition. Picking up a World Trophy in Canada was such a thrill. I am secretly though a lawn freak obsessed by stripes. Working at Lords for MCC is my dream for when I retire.
What is the one thing you can’t live without?
A flat white coffee